Antenatal corticosteroids (ACSs) administered to women before preterm birth improve neonatal health. Proportionately more women are obese or overweight in current obstetric populations than those who were included in the original trials of ACSs, and it remains uncertain if higher doses are required for such women.
Our aim was to assess the association between maternal body mass index (BMI) and infant morbidity after the administration of ACSs.
In the secondary analysis of the ASTEROID trial cohort, women at risk of preterm birth at <34 weeks’ gestation were randomised to betamethasone or dexamethasone. Infant outcomes were compared according to whether women were of normal weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 25–29.9 kg/m2) or obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Results Of 982 women with a singleton pregnancy and BMI data, 519 (52.9%) were of normal size, 241 (24.5%) were overweight and 222 (22.6%) were obese. Compared with infants born to women of normal weight, there was little or no difference in respiratory distress syndrome in infants born to women who were overweight (odds ratio (OR) = 0.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.57, 1.49) or obese (OR = 1.44, 95% CI 0.90, 2.31). Similarly, there were no significant differences between infants born to women in the three BMI groups for other morbidities, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, mechanical ventilation, intraventricular haemorrhage, retinopathy of prematurity, patent ductus arteriosus, necrotising enterocolitis, perinatal death or combined serious morbidity. Conclusions Maternal body size is not associated with infant morbidity after ACS exposure. Dose adjustment for women with higher BMI is not required.